Hi guys! While I’m off frolicking in Italy I wanted to make sure you guys still have good content to read so my fellow RD blogger friend Rose has a post to share with you today about one of my favorite topics: working out accountability. Enjoy 🙂
As a registered dietitian and fitness enthusiast, I frequently find my peers and patients asking me how I stay motivated and inspired to fit in physical activity. The truth is, it’s always a challenge because some days, you just don’t feel like it. Just because I am well educated on the reasons I should be working out, doesn’t mean it’s easy to push myself to work out every day. I’m human just like you, and sometimes, it’s a major struggle to get myself off the couch and over to the gym. It’s no secret that exercise provides us with countless benefits, from lowering blood pressure, to reducing risk of diabetes, weight management and of course my favorite reason, feeling good! However, being aware of these benefits isn’t always enough to get people out the door. Lately, more and more research has shown that having a workout partner is a huge motivator in getting people out the door and to the gym. In addition, it provides added motivation to get the best and most enjoyable workout possible. That’s why I believe that having a workout buddy is almost as important as actually working out in the first place.
I consider myself to be an avid runner, and as a runner, I find that sometimes my scheduled races aren’t always enough to motivate me to push past exhaustion and general laziness to get that workout in. I’ve actually arrived at the start line of many a race poorly prepared and incredibly untrained for this exact reason. As ridiculous as this might sound, I’m a grown adult who needs accountability and when I don’t have it, my workouts don’t always happen. This is why I try to make fitness as social as I possibly can. One thing I’ve learned about myself over the years is that I am more likely to do something if the result of not doing it means falling back on a commitment to a friend, and I know I’m not alone here. I don’t cancel on friends. Therefore if I commit to run with you at 6am, you better believe I’ll show up, no matter how many times I’d like to press snooze. If you’ve ever read my blog, you’re well aware that the majority of my fitness endeavors each week either take place with my running buddy Mary, my local running group, or in a group setting at the gym. Not only is a workout buddy a great way to guarantee you’ll show up, but it also provides you with someone who can share the highs and lows of the workout with you—they know exactly what you are going through. In my Wednesday morning bootcamp, we all whine about how hard the workout is, and then rejoice together when it’s over. In addition, you and your workout buddy can support each other as you set and achieve fitness goals. Back in April, I ran my third marathon. If I didn’t have my running group or training buddies, I can tell you right now running marathon number 3 would still be a goal instead of reality.
One thing I love about my social workouts is the unspoken sense of competition. Even if you don’t think you are competitive, having a training partner can help you rise to the occasion and challenge yourself in ways you never thought were possible! A study done at Michigan State University found that when a group of people rode exercise bikes alone and then with a partner, they ended up riding longer on average with a partner, then when riding solo. Sometimes during my bootcamp class, we do timed challenges. The competition aspect of class pushes me to work harder, and sweat more. There is never a physical prize after the workout, but knowing I got a great sweat in is usually satisfying enough. It always feels great—physically and mentally—knowing that I pushed myself to my limits and accomplished something.
If we are being honest here, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we tend to stick to routines we like, and most people like doing things with friends. So, it’s safe to assume that a workout routine designed with a buddy is not only going to be easy to follow, but more enjoyable too. In my case, my workout buddies have become some of my best friends, and whenever I have fitness dates, I spend my entire day looking forward to them. I may run 8 miles with a running buddy, but the truth is, it never feels like 8 miles. Instead, it feels like a fun friend date, and the miles fly by.
Rose is the registered dietitian donut lover behind the blog,The Donut Dietitian. On her blog, Rose shares nutrition related posts and snippets of her daily food and fitness adventures to provide insight and inspiration on how to live a healthy and balanced life. When Rose isn’t working, you can find her in search of a good cup of coffee, a delicious donut, or training for her next marathon.
So tell me, do you have a fitness buddy? What motivates you to get out the door?